Computer-assisted beat-pattern analysis and the flagellar waveforms of bovine spermatozoa

Benjamin J. Walker, Shiva Phuyal, Kenta Ishimoto, Chih Kuan Tung, Eamonn A. Gaffney

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7 Citations (SciVal)


Obstructed by hurdles in information extraction, handling and processing, computer-assisted sperm analysis systems have typically not considered in detail the complex flagellar waveforms of spermatozoa, despite their defining role in cell motility. Recent developments in imaging techniques and data processing have produced significantly improved methods of waveform digitization. Here, we use these improvements to demonstrate that near-complete flagellar capture is realizable on the scale of hundreds of cells, and, further, that meaningful statistical comparisons of flagellar waveforms may be readily performed with widely available tools. Representing the advent of high-fidelity computer-assisted beat-pattern analysis, we show how such a statistical approach can distinguish between samples using complex flagellar beating patterns rather than crude summary statistics. Dimensionality-reduction techniques applied to entire samples also reveal qualitatively distinct components of the beat, and a novel data-driven methodology for the generation of representative synthetic waveform data is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200769
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding. Experimental data acquisition was supported by National Science Foundation (grant no. HRD 1665004 to C.-K.T) and National Institutes of Health (grant no. R15HD095411 to C.-K.T). B.J.W. is supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), grant no. EP/N509711/1. K.I. is supported by JSPS-KAKENHI for Young Researchers (18K13456) and JST, PRESTO Grant no. JPMJPR1921, Japan. This work made use of the Cornell Center for Materials Research Shared Facilities, supported through the NSF MRSEC program (DMR-1719875). Acknowledgements. The authors acknowledge Prof. Adriana Dawes for helpful discussions on the subject of statistical testing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors.


  • computer-assisted sperm analysis
  • flagellar analysis
  • spermatozoa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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